Fully synthetic plastic was invented in 1907, replacing animal products such as ivory and tortoise shell that were used for similar purposes but were rapidly diminishing in supply. After World War Two, plastic could be mass-produced and consumption sky-rocketed. However, the very attributes that make it useful – its durability and flexibility – also make it almost impossible to dispose of. So today, we find ourselves almost drowning in plastic.

It’s easy to say that you want to do something to help, but very hard to know exactly what. Below are some of our people’s favourite eco-swaps to help you on your way.

In the kitchen

  • Beeswax wraps – recommended by Steven Panes. “My favourite eco-swap is beeswax food wraps to replace clingfilm and sandwich bags etc. They can be washed and reused time and time again.”
  • Kilner Jars – recommended by Carrie Coles. “My fav eco-swap is to use glass Kilner Jars for storage and food-leftovers – they last longer than single-use bags or even the plastic tubs (plus they look a lot nicer on the countertop!).”
  • Loose leaf tea – recommended by Simon Shaw. “One of my favourite swaps is probably switching from tea bags to a simple tea strainer. There’s actually quite a lot of microplastics in tea bags – and I think tea from a strainer tastes so much better!”
  • Ecoleaf cleaning productsrecommended by Priya Modi. “I use Ecoleaf for washing up liquid, which offers refills. I get mine from either Preserve and Matter Wholefoods in Bristol, or Cousin Normans in Chippenham.”
  • Biodegradable sponges – recommended by the Good Energy Office. “Good Energy have been using compostable sponges for some time now. Recently these have come from Sponrex via our local, eco-minded office supplier, Office Evolution. You can find similar products in most eco-stores.”
  • TrueStart Coffee – recommended by the Good Energy Office. “This year, Good Energy have begun getting their coffee supplied by TrueStart. They’re a small, Bristol-based company but ethics is everything to them – a fact backed up by their B Corp accreditation.”
  • Pukka Tea – recommended by the Good Energy Office. “Another B Corp and a company that really thinks about its impact: environmentally, socially, and in just making great tasting organic tea.”

Laundry and in the bathroom

  • Reusable make up wipes – recommended by Rhiannon Barriball. “About 5 years ago I discovered how bad makeup remover wipes were for the planet because of the materials used within the wipe (plastics) and how long this took to degrade. I made the decision to switch to re-useable makeup pads and have never looked back since!”
  • TOTM – recommended by the Good Energy Office. “Planet friendly period care, what more needs to be said. They have organic cotton pads and tampons which we store in the bathrooms at Monkton Park, or you can purchase menstrual cups on their website.”
  • Shampoo bars – recommended by Alana Peake. ​​​​​​​”Shampoo bars are a great alternative to bottles of shampoo. Lush’s ‘Honey I Washed My Hair’ smell AMAZING, lather up and last for longer than most shampoo bars making it great value.”
  • Earth Breeze laundry sheets – recommended by Saskia James. “I’ve only just started using these but they seem great and make so much sense. Why transport water around the planet in plastic containers when you can just purchase something that dissolves in water to give the same results.”
  • Wuka – recommended by Lesley Roe. “Period pants may not be a fancy topic but they do cut down on plastic and unnecessary waste. I can highly recommend this brand.”
  • AKT Natural deodorant – recommended by Nat Peachey. ​​​​​​​“I have this deodorant on subscription and it’s amazing! It’s the first all-natural deodorant that actually works for me! Plus, completely plastic-free packaging. I love that its also for all genders too.”

In the home

  • Plant Kind – recommended by Sam Small. “A plant subscription that really thinks about sustainability. When they say no pots included, they mean it. The little baby plants come wrapped in paper, their care instructions are on normal (non-glossy) card and their compost comes in a paper bag so no plastic at all!”
  • Coffee Logs – recommended by Tam Ibraham. “This company get other companies to sign up and collect their waste coffee grounds and process them into logs and pellets to convert it into biodiesel.”
  • Jaques of London wooden toys – recommended by Gavin Amos. “They produce some fantastic wooden toys and games and at a very fair price too. Their traditional and vintage toys are delivered hand wrapped in paper, with cardboard packaging.”

Our recommended ethical stores

  • Coacoara Foundation – recommended by Will Bickerton. “A really cool site that makes it easy to find plastic-free alternatives for everyday kitchen items and all profits go to Ocean Cleanup. They also run a series of beach/harbour cleans in Bournemouth and Bristol.”
  • Ethical Superstore – recommended by Saskia James. “An easy go to site if you’re ever unsure about the right item to buy. They have convenient tab below each product which shows their ethics and tags/awards/eco-labels.”
  • Squeeky@Home – recommended by Dylan Warner. “The new refill shop in Chippenham is great! I now buy handmade, plastic-free shampoo bars and they’re life-changing”